Provision for the Chinese Army

10:16, October 08, 2009      

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Wang Liang walked into the cafeteria with his comrades after singing a war song. As a Chinese soldier, he enjoys the buffet provided by his company, which includes braised pork in soy sauce, steamed fish, and fruits which has been added to the menu recently.

About a month ago, the General Logistics Department of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) had ordered their soldiers like Wang Liang got 400 grams of meat and dairy products per day. On July 1, 2008, their daily meal budget rose to 15 yuan. For soldiers who joined the army from less developed areas like Wang Liang, every day is like a festival celebration.

BETTER FOOD, MORE BOARD EXPENSE

The catering standard for the Chinese army includes standards on nutrient provision, dietary ration, and catering expenses, which defines the meals in terms of nutrition, quantity and amount of money. Since China introduced its Reform and Opening-up policy 30 years ago, the catering standard for the Chinese army has been steadily increasing from providing adequate food to serving nutritious meals.

In order to ease the impact of food and fuel price rises on the life of soldiers, the Central Military Commission (CMC) raised the army catering budget from July 1, 2008.

Previously, PLA kitchen fell four categories: the first one served ordinary soldiers, national defense construction team and soldiers garrisoning islands and borders; the second one served tank soldiers and self-propelled artillery teams, as well as their repair teams, aviation maintenance battalions, and soldiers garrisoning plateau; the third one served surface ship teams and students of flying schools; and the last one served submarine and nuclear powered submarine troops, as well as the aviation service group.

After the reform, the first two categories combined into one, and the daily catering expense for this category was raised to 15 yuan per capita. The daily catering expense for the former third category has been raised to 25 yuan per capita, and that for the former fourth category rose to 45 yuan per capita. Thus, since the Reform and Opening-up in 1978, the PLA has adjusted its catering standard 23 times, and the daily expense for the first category increased by more than 30 times more than the level 30 years ago from 0.47 yuan to 15 yuan.

On May 8, 2009, China's General Logistics Department raised the food ration for the PLA. For the first category, each soldier enjoys 400 grams of meat and dairy products per day. Previously, the figure was only between 280 to 320 grams. Fruits and milk had also been added to the menu. According to Zuo Yun, director of the Provision Bureau of Military Supplies, Oil and Lubricants Section of the General Logistics Department, the recent adjustment is the third large-scale adjustment in food ration since the founding of the People's Republic of China, which considered both nutrition and health. The adjustment had focused on nutrient balance, increasing food varieties and better food quality. Soldiers can enjoy two more kinds of food than the previous 11 kinds, and 41 percent of these foods are animal protein, while in the past it was only 26 percent. It is also the first time to have a specific quantity standard on the supply of meat and dairy products.

The recent adjustment in catering standard indicated that Chinese soldiers are able to enjoy nutritious meals, Zuo said.
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